Let me just begin by coming clean, I own a lot of jackets. I mean more jackets than any one person should really ever need to own. Yet, when I was given the chance recently to test one of the new Patagonia Micro Puff jackets, I eagerly agreed.
Long known for being on the forefront of the jacket style known as “puffys”, Patagonia has just raised the bar on what is possible for warmth with this ridiculously lightweight jacket. Touted as having the best warmth to weight ratio of any jacket they have ever built, this coat would be light if it was down, yet its synthetic. When I first pulled it out of the box, I was shocked by its feather weight. This coat is as light as a long underwear top – about 9oz!
I have worn the Micro puff now nearly every day for about a month. I have used it under a shell jacket for cold, stop and go, alpine climbing, as well as an outer layer over a sweater while running errands around town. This coat is so compressible that it will disappear into even the smallest backpack as well as into one of its two zippered hand warmer pockets.
In terms of its ideal uses, this jacket has many. It’s a perfect coat to throw in for cheap insurance on a sunny Summer day alpine rock climbing or for a Fall hike in the mountains. Its also ideal as a layering piece during colder weather activities like alpine climbing or backcountry skiing. That said, this is not a true winter puffy that you would pull on at breaks on a backcountry ski tour. This would also be a go to piece for travelling when you don’t want to check a bag, or are travelling light, but want some protection when the temps drop in the evening.
For years, this type of compressibility and featherweight warmth has been available only in down insulated jackets. This is the first time however we have seen this combination in a synthetic jacket. Patagonia is using a new fill material known as PlumaFill that retains its warmth even when wet. As many of us who spend a good amount if time in the elements in the Northwest are aware, having gear that retains warmth when wet, is pretty dang nice.
While I will continue to own far too many jackets, for the short term, my morning decision-making just got a bit easier. For just about anything I have planned, the Patagonia Micro puff is coming along.